Isaias da Costa Almeida

"Like with all progress, someone always has to lose for someone else to win"

Coming from
Vila União de Curicica Vila União de Curicica

Now living in
Minha Casa Minha Vida Parque Carioca - Estrada dos Bandeirantes Minha Casa Minha Vida Parque Carioca - Estrada dos Bandeirantes

Isaias da Costa Almeida, construction worker, 53

Vila Uniao, where I lived for nearly 27 years, a community which I helped to found – it had everything on its doorstep. There was a supermarket next to it, if you wanted to buy some bread there was somewhere nearby, there was a little fair every Tuesday in Largo do Curicica. Your friends, mother and father, they were all there. All the residents who left had a document allowing them to be there for 99 years. When it got to 27, City Hall, along with the Residents’ Association, arrived and said that owing to the necessity of the works that were going past this region, the Transolimpica, it was necessary to remove us, and bring us here to Parque Carioca. It was just going to be an exchange of an apartment for my house.

[Did you just get this apartment?]

I got four. As my house was huge, I had the opportunity to get one more apartment, which was… it was a three-storey building, and every floor was about 100 metres squared. Then I went here to an apartment of 44 metres squared. This “warning” had been around for a long time. They said it’s the most important thing being built in Brazil, the Transolimpica. This case was already very old, we had been suffering for it for a long time. We were under a lot of pressure to get out of that place.

My dog lived with us there, he’s been with us for 12 years. That day, it was quite a shock, because a date had been set but then we had to leave before it. It messed a lot with our health. We ended up coming here, but the majority of people wanted to stay. “Ah! You’ve received a property in such a civilised place!” But it’s better to be in a place which is worth less, that you are used to living in, than to be somewhere everyone says is so important, but which doesn’t fulfil you. Human beings weren’t born to move around all the time. If you built a building of three storeys, it’s because you wanted to stay in that region. Everything that you really wanted was there.

My bedroom there was 24 by 13.5. In the bedroom I’ve got here, you hit your head on the wall as soon as you get out of bed. It’s comical, but we have to laugh so as not to cry. It’s sad actually. I was even invited to go to the inauguration of the Transolimpica but when I arrived up there, it’s an important work for cariocas, but for us, it wasn’t, you know? It always messes with a piece of you. Like any kind of progress, someone has to lose for someone else to win.

Reporter: Lara Norgaard, Mariana Simões

Photographer: Mariana Simões

My journey

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